Now that life has settled down after nearly one solid week of fire storms in San Diego County, life is beginning to settle down.
And so this evening I was out in my neatly fenced back yard rearranging my 40 orchid planters when I began to feel slightly uneasy after I heard My dog Mr. Perro take a mighty sniff of night time air and then heard him galloping to his door into the house.
I turned around and looked at the fence expecting to see an adult coyote giving us the once over before it leaped into the yard to enjoy a bounteous repast of tasty domestic Chihuahua.
No coyote, but there was a young pointy snouted kit fox with a plump mouse in its mouth, looking at us and acting a bit submissive. So I did the only thing that made sense: “”Nice mousy there, Kit. Aren’t you quite the hunter?”
The kit cocked its head; turned and trotted away into the underbrush, mouse in its teeth.
Kit foxes aren’t particularly inclined to hang around humans, much less share their kills or look for approval from local residents. So, I can only assume from its size and behavior that the young fox had been separated from its mom in the fire, completed its first successful solo hunt and was looking for a little praise.
Other wild things that are beginning to show up regularly include: numerous reptiles such as gopher and rattle snakes, herds of lizards and one immense horned toad that I saw sitting in the remains of my lower garden on Monday morning. This reptile is a touchstone of Southern California life for me. Growing up, they were so common you didn’t even pay them much attention unless you saw one that was six inches or larger.
Like my youth, horned toads are just a find memory today. But every time I see one, sunning on rocks or the dirt floor of my garden, I smile just a little and file another image that maks me smile as the days get a little colder.
The bird day spa in my rose garden is booked near capacity because of the fire. In addition to hundreds of sparrows stopping at the walk-up window of my bird feeder., my bird bath is attracting large numbers of mountain blue birds an juvenile robbins. And this is in addition to flocks of finches, a couple of scrub blue jays and a pair of kestrels that are getting bold enough to come down to the bird bath late in the afternoon
The other sign that wild things are coming down to local homes to forage after the fire include piles of deer poop around my peach trees and distinct evidence of browsing four feet up in the trees.
I have a small life today that’s brightened considerably by clear evidence that my little home on a mountaintop in Rural northern San Diego County is part of a natural habitat for a variety of wild things passing through and looking for their piece of a bucolic life—Jim Forbes, 10/30/2007.